Vocational Training for Vulnerable Youth in Armenia

UMCOR activities in education

Provision of scholarships for Aregak UCO clients

The project goal is to alleviate the burden a child’s education can pose on a low-income family receiving business loans and encourage vulnerable community members to pursue microfinance opportunities. The scholarship award to the students from Aregak Universal Credit Organization client families aims to pay targeted beneficiary student’s tuition fee for at least one semester to give children from low-income families the chance to enroll in higher education institutions.

The project targets Aregak UCO clients who have students at higher educational institutions in Armenia.

Criteria for beneficiary selection includes: Client credit history; Student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) scores; and Client family social status.

During the first phase of the project implementation (January - September 2012), 343 students received tuition fee for one semester. The poroject will continue on an annual basis.

Target area: Armenia

Project Immplementation Period: November 1, 2007, through April 15, 2008

Donor: Bay Area Friends of Armenia (BAFA)

Project Goals:

  • To prevent trafficking in humans through empowerment of vulnerable youth to meet the requirements of the labor market in Armenia.
  • To provide a chance to undergraduates of boarding schools to find their place in life and the possibility to earn money instead of begging and relying on somebody’s charity or becoming a victim of human trafficking.


Two boarding schools were selected to participate in the project: Vardashen Special Complex N1 and Nubarashen Special School N11. In Vardashen Special Complex N1, two groups for culinary and manicure courses were created; and, in Nubarashen Special School N11, a group for a hairdressing course was created. The number of children who expressed their willingness to be trained was higher than initially planned, so it was decided to involve all of them. Therefore, in the framework of the project, 28 pupils (18 girls, 10 boys) were trained instead of the 20 planned.

As a result of this project, 28 students from boarding schools acquired professional skills. These children were provided with the opportunity to learn skills that would enable them to eventually earn money on their own and become productive members of society. Many of them have written about their experiences in letters to UMCOR. This is the best praise for the donors, organizers and teachers, who developed, supported and conducted this work.     

“… I participated in manicure courses and now the day of receiving a diploma has come. For me, it is an unforgettable day. It is a wonderful day. I am hopeful that one day I will be able to work in this profession and earn my own money to help my mother and sisters as well as to be able to enter the Pedagogical Institute. That’s all about me. Let the rest stay in my heart. It is true that the past is always forgotten, but it leaves a scar in the heart. One should move forward and live in the present, but not in the past.”   

“…Very soon I will graduate from the school, I am very glad to learn the profession of a hairdresser. Maybe I will become a good specialist and will have good financial means. I will have a small apartment to live with my brother and sister. God grant that my dreams will come true.”

“…Only one month, from January 28 till February 28. Only 30 days. Thirty days and during these days apparent changes, made me believe in life and success. Instantaneous joy, which will lead me during all my life; joy that has brought changes in the future plans and opportunity to be happy.  What I feel now, I wish it to everyone! Be happy!”